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Creation-Fall of man- Death of Abel-Flood-Tower of Babel.
The first chapter of Genesis you will think is very easy to be understood, being merely the history of every thing that God has made. Very true, it is easy to understand the sense of it, but does it teach us nothing else ? may it not lead us to reflect on the kindness and goodness of God ? Can we view any of the works of the Creator without being at the same time struck with his infinite power and wisdom, and without exclaiming with the Psalmist, “O "Lord, how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast Thou “made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”
And for whom did the Almighty create all these things ? That we are told in the Revelations, “For Thy pleasure they are, and were created.” God is a being infinitely happy, and it was his pleasure not only to create a world in which that happiness might be diffused, but even to form man after his own image, pure and innocent, who was to have dominion over every living thing.
[ch Who could have supposed that God would so soon meet with such an ungrateful return for all this kindness !
Adam and Eve we are told were created in the image of God; they were perfectly good and happy, placed in a situation where they had every thing they could possibly want, and only commanded not to eat of one tree- a simple command, which, we might suppose, would have been very easy to obey. And yet we find they not only disobeyed God by doing this very thing they were told not to do, but even endeavoured to conceal it by a falsehood. We read that Eve was tempted by the devil, who appeared to her in the form of a serpent.
God does not now suffer the devil to appear to us in
any visible form, but though we do not see him, he still endeavours to lead us astray, or as St. Peter
as a roaring lion, he walketh about seeking “ whom he
devour,' and whenever you feel inclined to do wrong, you may be sure he is tempting you just as he did Eve; but if you look into your Bible and see what St. James says, you will read that God has said, “Resist " the devil and he will flee from you, that is, if
you try to conquer your evil disposition, and do what is right, praying to God for his Holy Spirit to direct you, Satan can have no power over you.
Eve, on the contrary, lent a willing ear to his wicked suggestion, and was thus not only induced to take the fruit, but she also tempted Adám to do so likewise. And what were the consequences ? They knew they had done wrong, and felt ashamed, but instead of confessing their sin, and asking forgiveness of God, they went and hid themselves, as if they thought it possible they could be concealed from the Almighty, from whom “there is nothing hid that shall “ not be known.
You see here the sad effects of giving way to sin ; when once a person is tempted to do wrong, there is no saying what he may be led to do. The consequences of Adam's sin were dreadful indeed : He was now driven out of Paradise, he had to labour with his own hands for his food, and
.Pet. V, 8.
Jain. iv. 7.
• Mat. x. 26.
instead of living for ever in that happy place, was told he should die, and his body return to the dust from whence it was taken.
Adam and Eve had now lost that purity and innocence in which, after the image of their Maker, they had been created, and would have forfeited for ever God's favour and mercy, were he not a Being infinitely good and kind, as well as just. In his anger he was nevertheless merciful; and even while he was denouncing judgement upon them, promised that the time should come when the power of the devil would be crushed by the seed of the woman ; an expression, which as you are doubtless aware of, implied our Saviour, who by suffering death for us, was finally to restore us to God's favour, and lead us to everlasting life. This would be effectually bruising the head of the devil, who can have no power over us in Heaven.
Four Thousand years were to elapse before this event was to take place, but you will observe as we proceed, how constantly the Jews, whose history forms the chief part of the Old Testament, were reminded of it by circumstances, which having always a reference, and often a great similarity to many which happened to our Saviour, were called types. These I shall point out and explain to you as they
From the history of Adam and Eve, we now proceed to that of Cain and Abel, in which the consequences of Adam's sin are again seen. Had the first pair obeyed God's commands, their children would, like themselves, have been for ever happy in Paradise, but from the moment Adam and Eve sinned, their whole nature was changed : “The heart “of man had become deceitful, and desperately wicked,” and "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
• Jer. xvii. 9.
d Chap. vi. 5.
[CH. In this state the whole race of man has continued ever since. Onr natural inclinations will ever incline us to do wrong, and it is only by the grace of God, who can put“ a new spirit within us, taking the stony heart out of our flesh, and giving us a heart of flesh, that we can become fit for the Kingdom of Christ. St. Paul, quoting the Psalms, tells us that “there is none righteous, no not one,'
» o for that “the carnal mind is enmity against God," meaning the mind in its natural state, before it has been renewed by the spirit of God.
Thus are we constantly reminded of the state into which we are all fallen in consequence of Adam's sin, and in which we must for ever have remained, had it not pleased God in his infinite goodness to send his beloved Son into the world to be sacrificed for our sins, and who by his precepts and example during his abode on earth, has directed us in the only path which leads to true happiness.
We must now return to Cain and Abel. These two brothers, we are told, both offered a sacrifice to God. You are aware that until our Saviour appeared on earth, it pleased God that men should offer up their prayers and thanksgivings in the form of a sacrifice. Thus Cain brought of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought one of his flock, and offered it to God.
Now we read that God “had respect unto Abel, and to “ his offering, but unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not
respect," that is, he approved of the one, and disapproved of the other. We may be sure therefore that Cain's sacrifice was not what it ought to have been. In St. Paul's epistle to the Hebrews, it is written, “ By faith Abel offer" ed unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by " which he obtained witness that he was righteous.'
Some people suppose that Abel's faith referred to God's promise respecting our Saviour, and that he showed it by offering a sacrifice, which in its nature prefigured that of Christ, while Cain only offered the fruits of the earth. If this be true, the sacrifice of animals must have been a com
« Ezek. xi. 19.
o Rom. iii. 10.
* Heb. xi. 4.